If I exploit employees report me to the police – Swapo councillor

Gotlieb Ndjendjela

Swapo Tsumeb councillor Gotlieb Ndjendjela says the Namibia Economic Freedom Fighters (NEFF) can report him to the police or take him to court if they are convinced that he exploits retail employees through his company, Employees Placement Services of Namibia (EPSN).

Ndjendjela said this in an interview with The Namibian yesterday, after the NEFF on Friday accused the labour hire organisation of exploiting retail employees.

NEFF also accused other labour hire organisations, as well as some Chinese-owned businesses, of upholding colonial and exploitative contract labour practices.

NEFF held a protest at Oshakati on Friday, claiming exploitative contract labour practices in Namibia by labour hire organisations.

NEFF handed a petition to the office of Oshana governor Elia Irimari and Rani Traders.

“If you are making an allegation, you must prove it. That’s why I challenge whoever makes this allegation to go to the authorities. Don’t waste time, because the more you waste time, the more I exploit, so, go to the authorities as soon as possible,” Ndjendjela said.

He noted that despite some people claiming his company exploits people, he receives many SMSes from people asking him for jobs.

“People looking for exploitation work. How is that possible?”

He accused the NEFF of politicising the matter and of using retail employees in their campaign.

He said the party should rather take the matter to parliament to be debated there.

Ndjendjela said they are busy regulating the labour hire industry, as ordered by the Supreme Court in 2009.

Indian businessman Ali Dharani, who controls mini market trading as Rani Traders, told The Namibian yesterday the NEFF should provide proof how workers are exploited so that the company can be reported to the relevant authority.

Dharani said his company has not broken any of the country’s laws.

“If we are breaking any law in the country, they must report us to the relevant ministry. We are a law-abiding company and law-abiding citizens for that matter,” he said.

Asked why his company hires employees from a labour hire company rather than employing them directly, Dharani said “that’s the choice of the management and the choice of the company”.

“If we are doing anything illegal, there should be action against that. Otherwise it’s a personal choice of the company.”

In their petition, NEFF accused the government of allowing labour hire companies to exploit employees.

“While leaders aim to line their pockets, workers are left to endure abject poverty,” the NEFF said in its petition.

NEFF gave the office of the Oshana governor until 31 January 2024 to respond to its petition.

NEFF noted that failure to respond will result in a mass shutdown of all companies operating with labour hire organisations.

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